Canine Influenza, or Dog Flu, is a contagious disease affecting a dog’s respiratory system. The disease is caused by specific influenza viruses known to infect dogs. There are two main, widespread strains of canine influenza viruses; H3N8 and H3N2. Canine influenza viruses (CIV) have never been proven to be transmissible to humans, but it’s always best to err on the side of safety and take precautions to disinfect when caring for a sick pup, especially if there are other dogs in the house. VIP Petcare has vaccines available to help control diseases associated with CIV H3N2 and H3N8. Dogs need to be vaccinated for both strains in order to be fully protected because both strains have been diagnosed in over 38 states to date.
So, how do you know if your dog has the flu?
We have compiled a list of telltale signs and tips for treating your pet when they’re sick.
Has your dog been at a kennel or daycare lately and is now coughing? Canine influenza can sound a lot like kennel cough, but the treatments are different so be sure to protect your dog for both – especially if they spend time around other dogs!
2. Runny nose.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your pooch has a runny nose, but if they are exhibiting other symptoms take note if they sound congested and have a lot of mucus.
3. Dry Nose.
A dry nose can be an indication of fever, so while you’re checking their nose to see if it’s excessively runny, also note if it is dry.
A normal temperature range for a dog is between 99.5 and 102.5F degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer to accurately read their temperature, feel their ears and paws for they will feel hot if they have a fever.
Some dogs are just naturally lethargic, but a sleepy dog could be exhibiting signs of the flu if they display unusual apathy to things that would normally get them excited.
6. Eye Discharge.
Goopy eyes are an easy symptom to notice. If your pet has excessive discharge, look for any irritant and for other flu-like symptoms.
7. Lack of Appetite.
This can sometimes be a first sign of illness, or the easiest to notice. If your dog isn’t eating, look right away for other symptoms.
Inflammation of the nasal lining and airways can result in sneezing fits.
Some dogs won’t demonstrate the full range of symptoms but can still be infected. Similar to human flu bugs, it is important to monitor the virus’ progression for symptoms of pneumonia. If your dog sounds wheezy, take them to the vet right away for testing.
10. Increased Respiratory Rate.
Difficulty breathing and an increased respiratory rate can also be symptoms of pneumonia and can be a result of the flu’s progression into the lungs.
If your dog has any of these symptoms, consult with a vet right away. Again, canine influenza can be prevented by regular vaccines, so check your dogs records and bring them in for any updates, because as they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”.